Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stay Tuned for EmpoweredActor Re-Launch!

reparations are underway for the re-launch of EmpoweredActor.com

This video is an ad-in-the-works -- you'll be able to get your free stuff when the site is live.

Practical & Powerful Tools for Your Success

  • Professional Union & Non-Union Actors
  • Community Theatre Actors
  • Adult Beginners
  • Film-Trained Actors Transitioning to the Stage
  • BFA & MFA Musical Theatre & Actor Training Programs

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Tribute to My Dad

I'm a little late for Father's Day... was traveling and completely unwired -- except for my dying cell phone. I first published this as an Actor's Break article a couple of years ago, but wanted to share it with you.



Eight years ago this month, my Dad died. Sometime in the night, sitting in his chair in the family room, TV on, in his sleep, he died of congestive heart failure.

I didn't cry a lot for him. I cried for my Mom. She loved him so much.

I was at first puzzled why I didn't cry much. But then I read something and I understood.

When someone dies, we cry mainly because of regret. Regret over what we should have said, what we should NOT have said, what we did, the time we never spent... Regret.

Although I do, of course, have some regrets related to my Dad, I am grateful to say I am very much okay with his death.

And here's why...
  1. He died peacefully and did not suffer. The remote was next to his hand on the easy chair. No evidence of any pain in those last moments.

  2. Because he did not suffer, the suffering of his family was minimalized. (My Mom might think otherwise, but I know my Dad agrees.)

  3. (And this is the biggest reason) He and I were okay with each other -- but that's not how it always was. He learned to say "I love you," and I do believe that was due in some large part to me.
When I was in high school and college, he would actually avoid saying it. I remember whenever I would call home from college, when it came time to say good-bye, I would say, "Love you, Dad," and he would say, "okay," or "here's your mother," or just anything. And it seemed it always caught him off guard.

But I'd say it anyway.

I knew it was hard for him, knowing the way he grew up. I decided I would continue saying it.

I wrote a letter to him from college once, a sort of coming-to-terms letter. I told him I knew that
he loved me, that he didn't have to say it -- it was okay.

Finally, one day, at the end of a conversation, I said, "I love you, Dad." He said, "I love you too,

He always said it after that. We were able to relate on a better level after that.

I love my Dad very much.

And I realize something.

I founded The Empowered Actor Initiative, and have been working so hard on this business in large part as a tribute to my Dad.

The reason is... he knew so much, such a wealth of knowledge. He could have written volumes... He talked about it a lot, about writing. But he never did it.

I think he would really have enjoyed the power of the Internet. I certainly am. Once this company gets rolling I am going to be able to communicate with so many actors.

My Dad didn't have an avenue for sharing his knowledge, except through his job, and family.
A shame. He could have shared it with the world.

So that's my quest: to share my knowledge, to find every avenue possible with every actor who wants it.

It is a whole new thing for me, communicating via the internet. I have eBooks and CDs I've
created for actors, then instantly want to make them better.

I've had many disappointments with how long it seems to take to develop something meaningful... trouble with servers, fulfillment of materials... all part of a learning curve for me, how to communicate with YOU effectively.

Dad, I know you are by my side, cheering me on.

I love you,


Thursday, April 30, 2009

As You Go Forth

This article is one I wrote originally for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's graduating MFA class this spring, and wanted to share it with you as well. Enjoy!

Dear Graduates:

The World has no idea what's in store for it.

You are each unique in the theatre world. You must embrace the realization that there is only one of YOU, and you will contribute in your own unique way.

No one has your vision. No one can know your path. No one can choose your path -- except for you.

The world will be changed immeasurably by each one of you.

Too often, actors take that powerful realization for granted, as they become lost in the sea of daily activities, striving to achieve the Dream.

You are on to new endeavors, new relationships, new challenges -- some foreseen, others that will threaten to knock you off course.

You will never be lost if you remember one thing... one thing so many actors forget, whether they are off to regional theatre excellence, Broadway, Hollywood or television, or start a theatre of their own.

As you go forth, remember:

You Have the Power, the Gift and the Ability
to Design Your Life

No matter how clearly you have thought about how you would like your life to be, sit down quietly by yourself Within the next 7 days, and write in concrete terms the results you want, what you intend to have accomplished, one year from today.

Then write the results you want 3 years from today. Then 5 years.

Go at least 5 years out, but then also -- and this is very important -- look back at your life as if you are reading a eulogy someone has written for you. What will they say about you? What amazing things have you contributed to the world of art? What difference have you made to life on this planet?

This is not a frivolous exercise. Psychologists and others studying such things have found there is true power in the written word, and the effect it has on the outcome of one's desires. This is not mere 'goal setting.' This is deliberate creation.

One thing is certain: If you don't chart your course, believe me... there are so many others out there who will be glad to chart it for you, not necessarily with your best interest at heart.

Performing this exercise within 7 days will help solidify who you will bring into your life, and for what purpose. So when unforeseen circumstances DO attempt to knock you off course, your declared Purpose will help keep you on track.

There was a recent study of two twin boys who grew up together in identical circumstances. One became a bum, living in the streets of Chicago. The other is very wealthy, and strives to assist people with financial difficulties by creating financial education programs.

When asked why he lives his life on the streets, surviving day to day, the one man said it is because his parents were alcoholics.

When asked why it is that he is so successful, the other man claims it is because his parents were alcoholics.

Take what is given to you, be thankful for what you have, and use it to your advantage, so that you can serve those around you with your gifts.

Here's to Your Empowerment!

Copyright (c) 2007, 2014 Tom Brooks and The Empowered Actor Initiative. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If You Could See What I See...

Don't you agree that sometimes, all it takes is a new perspective on things?
Think of how you approached acting when you first started out. You're a bit better now, right? What if, going into those first roles, you knew everything you know now?
What about how you approach your auditions? If I could download my perspective and my experience into your head, then you would have a very specific reference for tackling the audition from a vantage point of greater clarity.
It's not that I'm any smarter than you. It's that my perspective is different; it's broader. It's as if you are at ground level, and I am on a tower, able to see farther, able to see more because of my perspective. (I'm not trying to say I'm "higher" than you...just trying to find the right analogy to let you know that I can help you see things differently in a way that will heighten the impact of your audition.)
Here are the things I see OVER AND OVER AGAIN at auditions. You don't need any more training to take care of these -- just a greater understanding. It's very simple.
There are VERY FINE actors out there who simply don't audition well. They just lack SIMPLE UNDERSTANDING that, if applied, can literally MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Here are...
** 5 Ways to Stand Out at Auditions **
By making the following subtle changes to the way you audition, you DRAMATICALLY increase your chances of being cast.
  1. ACT AS IF... Aside from completely knowing your audition pieces, the way to LOOK confident is to BE confident. Plug into your acting capabilities in order to get above the nervousness: You are playing a character who is very much like you who is not at all fearful of the audition; in fact, she loves it! Rehearse as this "character" who is prepping for the audition... then go in as that "character." You'll be surprised at how this approach can result in greater confidence.
  2. As you come into the audition area, SIZE UP THE SPACE so you'll know where to stand, where to place the chair, or whether you'll have to put the chair, etc. You should have already made decisions about whether your glasses should be on or off; your hair should be out of your face, etc.
  3. SAVE YOUR NAME. Get your music to the accompanist (if necessary), then do whatever you have to do to set up the space (efficiently and without apology,) THEN get in place, STOP, LOOK at the casting personnel while smiling, and speak your intro: "Hi, I'm First Name, Last Name, and I'm going to do Character Name from Name of Play, and Other Character Name from Other Play, and I'll be singing That Song from That Musical." Say your name clearly, especially if your name is even moderately difficult or "different."
  4. AVOID THE EXHALE. Many times, actors expel an enormous breath just before they begin in an unconscious attempt to dump some anxiety. Instead, practice INHALING. This sets an air of expectation and compels the casting director to look at you. Make sure it is the CHARACTER inhaling in preparation to speak, not YOU as the actor. (By the way, I'm not talking about a big dramatic intake of breath. In fact, it might be more subliminal rather than visible to the casting folk.)
  5. SAVE THE LAST MOMENT. When you finish the last word and/or action of the last piece, PAUSE... Let the moment resonate. If you have 2 monologues and a song, you'll want to do this at the end of every piece. SO DISAPPOINTING when actors finish the last word and/or action, then skip right to the next piece. Failure to take the moment is a way of apologizing for your work. It indicates lack of confidence.
Do these things make sense?
Take care of THESE 5 THINGS and you will improve your odds so much.

Here's to You Empowerment!

Copyright (c) 2009, 2014 Tom Brooks. All Rights Reserved.